Saturday, March 22, 2014

How to Draw a Manga Face

Post by Catsi Eceer, co-founder

     Hey everybody, it's me again, Catsi. Instead of boring you all to death with ramblings on writing, this time I'm going to bore you all to death with ramblings on art! How exciting!

     All right, I'm actually not going to be doing a whole lot of rambling. Most of the post will be done in pictures, so you don't even have to look at the words (although I'll be adding extra tips after each picture, so you may want to pay attention).

     This is lesson is on drawing a manga face. Faces are actually really hard, and they were something I struggled with for a long time. But now I've figured out how to use guidelines to make sure you have everything proportioned properly, and my faces usually turn out quite nicely.

     There are several ways to draw manga faces. Just google "how to draw manga faces" and you'll get a gazillion different tutorials on different ways to draw them. This is my preferred approach, with guidelines that work for me. After you've completed the tutorial, try changing things to make it just right for you.

Step one: Draw a circle.
     Simple enough. Circles aren't too tricky, but if you're struggling to get it right, you can try using a stencil. (Even just trace a lid... I've done that before.)

Step two: Divide the circle into four parts.
      A straight line down, and a straight line across. Try to get these as even as possible. (You can see that I'm not so great at drawing straight lines...)

Step three: Divide the lower half into four more parts.
      This may look complicated, but all you have to do is draw a line dividing the lower half of the circle in half, and then each of those parts in half again (a total of three new lines).

Step four: Bring the center line down farther and draw another horizontal line.
      Oh no, not more straight lines! The distance between the lower horizontal line and the bottom of the circle is equal to three of the subsections you made in step three.

Step five: Draw two more vertical lines.
     The two new lines go from the edges of the last subsection line in the circle to the lower horizontal line. If your center horizontal line is exactly in the middle, the two section created in this step should be even.

Step six: One more straight line.
     This line should be halfway down the lines drawn in the last step, but not the center line. Great job, you've finished the guidelines, or the "skull," as my sister likes to call it. Now we'll actually start drawing the face.

Step seven: Begin drawing the chin.
      Draw two diagonal lines, each starting in the third-from-bottom subsection and going down the intersection of the mid-lower horizontal line and the side vertical lines.

Step eight: Finish the chin.
      Draw two more diagonal lines to connect the lines you drew in the last step at the intersection of the lower horizontal line and the center vertical line.

Step nine: Guidelines for the eyes.
     Just continue the side vertical lines up to the third subsection lines. These will help you place the eyes in the next step.

Step ten: Draw the upper eyelids.
     The distance between the lines should be equal to one of the lines. (You can make the eyelids a little more even then I did... I'm horrible at drawing even eyes.)

Step eleven: Draw the irises.
     Draw two rather irregular rectangles for the irises. I also added the corner of the eyes in this step, however depending on what your character's eyes look like, you may want to draw them differently.

Step twelve: Draw the nose.
     Oh, noes! Manga noses are so easy to draw. Just a little line at the intersection of the center vertical line and the bottom of the circle.

Step thirteen: Add the ears.
     Step thirteen--The part I am really horrible at. (I'm not normally superstitious... but really?) I drew the ears a little too small here, so feel free to make them larger. The top of the ear should be about level with halfway through the eyes.

Step fourteen: Eyebrows.
     I usually draw the eyebrows before the mouth, because I think the eyebrows add more expression than the mouth does. I never really know what expression I'm going to draw until I draw the eyebrows. These are rather neutral eyebrows, so I'm going to go with the default manga expression: cheerful.

Step fifteen: Draw the mouth.
     To complete the cheerful look, just add a gently curving smile.

Step sixteen: Add details.
     Add detail to the inside of the ears, and the eyes.

Step seventeen: Erase the guidelines.
     If you're going to be inking your drawing, you can skip this step. I really dislike inking, for some reason (probably because I'm horrible at it), so I'm just going to stick with a pencil sketch for this one. I erase the guidelines now because it's really tricky to erase them without erasing hair.

Step eighteen: Add a neck and shoulders.
     Because you don't want your head just floating on the paper. Make sure the neck looks strong enough to support the head!

Step nineteen: Draw outlines for the hair.
     We're almost finished, I promise. The character I'm drawing has straight bangs and very curly hair (although you can't tell that now) but feel free to use any hairstyle that strikes your fancy.

Step twenty: Add more details to the hair.
     Unless you're actually drawing the character that I am, you can skip this step. I'm just sketching in where the curls are going to fall.

Step twenty-one: More details.
     Now I'm actually filling in the curls, and I've given her a headband.

(Zoom in on the curls)
     Here you can see that the curls are just a bunch of lopsided rectangles stacked on each other. This produces a very tight curl. If you want something looser, make the rectangles softer and larger.

Step twenty-two: More details.
     I've just added a few lines in each of the curl rectangles to make it a bit more realistic.

(Zoom in on curls)
     Yep. Just a bunch of lines in the rectangles.

Step twenty-three: Draw some more details.
     I've filled in her eyes except for the irises and the highlight, as well as her headband. I also added some clothing details that are specific to this character, and detail of her collarbone.

Step twenty-four: Shade, sign and date!
     I didn't actually do much shading with this one. It's a lot simpler than what I normally draw, however if you want to shade, go ahead and do it. Just figure out where your light source is and darken accordingly. Sign your name at the bottom, date it, and voila! you have completed a manga face.

     How did yours turn out? Any questions I can clear up for you?

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